“Separators” that Predict Health Related Attrition in Retirement Communities

SeparatorsTo preserve its census, a Retirement Community (Independent or Assisted Living) must proactively work to preserve the health of its residents.  Indeed, 92% of residents who leave Assisted Living Communities do so because of failing health.  [Reliable data for Independent Living Communities are not available].

Chronic Health Conditions (CHCs) are the leading cause of illness and death of seniors.  And seniors with multiple CHCs are 100 times more likely to have a preventable hospitalization than someone with no CHC.  All seniors in Retirement Communities have multiple CHCs, the 10 most common of which are:

  1. High Blood Pressure
  2. Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias
  3. Heart Disease
  4. Depression
  5. Arthritis
  6. Osteoporosis
  7. Diabetes
  8. COPD and allied conditions
  9. Cancer
  10. Stroke

But not all CHCs equally increase the risk of failing health.  Some conditions can be managed and remain stable for years, while others pose a much greater risk.  Analysis of the House Calls data base in Boise, Idaho has revealed 5 CHCs that separate the residents living independently from those living in Assisted Living Communities.

The most common Chronic Health Conditions in our data base are shown in the next figure:

Aggregate CHCs


By identifying those residents with any of the Chronic Health Conditions that are “Separators”, a community can then focus the attention of its employees on these residents so that everyone will be especially aware of any signs of declining health.  This will allow for early intervention that will stabilize a resident’s condition and thereby avoid losing the resident to an ER, hospital, or nursing home.

Kevin Williams wrote about the enormous value of a Retirement Community’s data base in a recent article in McKnight’s Long Term Care News.  He was right – this data base is golden.  And when combined with residents’ anonymous health information and then data mined, insights are revealed that will help preserve census by reducing health attrition.



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